Readers will thrill to the sense of discovery and exploration the girl experiences: “It is possible.” (Picture book. 2-4)

LINE 135

The witty minimalism of the black-and-white line artwork by Swiss illustrator Albertine in this extreme landscape-format children’s book belies the psychological depth of the content.

A child is traveling by train from her mother’s home in the city to her grandmother’s home, which is “practically on the other side of the world.” The train, the only color element of the whole book, moves through a landscape that begins as a modern European cityscape (plenty of signs in French for language practice!) and increasingly becomes more surreal and Seuss-ian as the landscape becomes more rural. The story is a gently veiled moral tale of resolution and independence. In spite of the admonitions of her mother and grandmother, who tell her that it is impossible to know the whole world, the child asserts that she intends to travel everywhere, and thus she will be able to know the whole world. Her assertions of independence and determination gain momentum as the train continues. The fact that the train does arrive at its far-distant destination, reuniting the girl with her grandmother, suggests that the child is right and that adults are too rigid in their thinking.

Readers will thrill to the sense of discovery and exploration the girl experiences: “It is possible.” (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1934-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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Truck lovers of any gender will find this title a treat, but the hyperfeminine companion is sadly restrictive.

LOVE IS A TRUCK

Richly textured board pages and a limited color palette distinguish this tribute to trucks.

The gray buckram cover is a delight to hold, while bright red endpapers promise excitement within. Beautifully designed using shades of red, black, white, and brown on matte pages, the whole package has a retro, letterpress feel. The first truck is a firetruck big enough for a brown-skinned child to straddle. Later pages feature construction vehicles, a flatbed trailer, and an ice cream truck. The slight text has a lyrical quality, though the occasional rhymes seem accidental. Relatively abstract concepts are casually introduced, “Love is a kid who lines them all up. Biggest to smallest, color by color.” On the final page the brown-skinned child is kissed goodnight while clutching a truck under a road-patterned blanket. The main character wears plaid bib overalls and has longish curly hair. Another child, also brown-skinned, with close-cropped hair, plays with the construction trucks, shares a treat from the ice cream truck, and offers a goodnight kiss. Unfortunately, a less gender-neutral companion volume, Love Is a Tutu, clearly aims for the ballerina market with an excess of pink. Together the two books assure little girls they can love both tutus and trucks. Unfortunately, they send a mixed message to little boys.

Truck lovers of any gender will find this title a treat, but the hyperfeminine companion is sadly restrictive. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-937359-86-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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